Covishield price reduced to Rs. 300 for states: Adar Poonawalla
Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), on Wednesday announced that the price of the COVID-19 vaccine Covishield was being reduced from Rs. 400 to Rs. 300 for states. The development comes as the SII's inconsistent pricing for the Centre, states, and private facilities has drawn flak. Critics said the COVID-19 crisis was no time to earn profits.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Poonawalla said, "As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of (the Serum Institute of India), I hereby reduce the price to the states from Rs. 400 to Rs. 300 per dose, effective immediately." "This will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward. This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives," the tweet said.
After the Centre had allowed state governments and private players to independently procure vaccine doses, the SII announced that Covishield will be available to states at Rs. 400/dose. In the private market, Covishield can be procured at Rs. 600/dose. Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN is priced Rs. 600/dose for states and Rs. 1,200/dose for private hospitals. The Centre can procure both vaccines at Rs. 150/dose.
The announcement comes days before India's vaccination drive expands to all people above the age of 18 starting May 1. Currently, only people aged over 45 are allowed to get vaccinated along with healthcare and frontline workers. The registration process for people aged 18-44 started at 4 pm on Wednesday through the Co-WIN platform, Aarogya Setu app, and the UMANG app.
Notably, India is facing a brutal second wave of COVID-19, reporting 3.6 lakh new cases on Wednesday, a record spike for any nation in the world. The total number of cases has now neared 1.8 crore. India also witnessed its deadliest day, recording 3,293 fresh fatalities, which pushed the death toll past 2 lakh. Meanwhile, 14,78,27,367 vaccine doses have been administered across India.